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Women in Marvel: Marvel Films and TV Shows Dominated by Women

As many of us know, Marvel Studios has taken an interest in women-led superhero films, but some of us are oblivious to the women behind the camera and pen.

There was a time when comic books were not only geeky, but a total “guy thing.” Whenever I hear conversations about superheroes, it would be two guys arguing about whether Batman can take down Superman. I will admit my love of comics did come from watching comic-book film adaptations, but once I realized there weren’t enough superheroes being represented on the big screen, particularly super heroines, I decided to do a little research of my own. It turns out that all the superhero films I grew up watching were directed by men, and the comic book nerds were mostly young boys and older men. Of course, there are young girls and women who are into comics, but it would make sense for them to feel overshadowed by the overbearing masculinity in the comic book industry, and by Marvel Studios. But, all that has changed. As many of us know, Marvel Studios has taken an interest in women-led superhero films, but some of us are oblivious to the women behind the camera and the pen. In this article, we’ll be discussing women in Marvel, including women directors of Marvel films, women show runners, and writers of Marvel series. [Texts bolded in red are links to]

Marvel Studios Films 

Anna Boden – Captain Marvel (2019)

One side has Anna Boden on Beach with Alien actor; other side post of Captain Marvel
Anna Boden Co-director of Captain Marvel

Before Captain Marvel was adapted in to a film, I remember seeing a comic book of a superhero with blonde, short hair, labeled Captain Marvel, and my first thought was, she must be the most powerful superhero if she’s named after Marvel Comics. The point is I didn’t know much about her, and sometimes, when I see a superhero onscreen that I’m not familiar with, my expectations aren’t that high. But, there was no disappointment in watching Captain Marvel. My only disappointment is that not enough people are talking about this Superhero film. Not like the recent Marvel superhero films. This film has been directed by the filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. This means, technically, Captain Marvel is the first Marvel superhero film to be directed by a woman.

Cate Shortland – Black Widow (2021)

Cate Shortland on set with Black Widow cast
(Left Side) BlackWidow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), (center) Director Cate Shortland, (near right) Yelena (Florence Pugh), and (right side) Alexei (David Harbour)

I’m not going to lie; I didn’t know Black Widow is directed by a woman. I’m not even sure if Marvel has advertised the fact that the highly anticipated Black Widow solo film will be directed by a woman. While Black Widow is Cate Shortland’s Marvel debut; this film wasn’t her first time directing a woman-led film. Cate Shortland directed an indie film, Lore (2012); at first, the title of the film made me feel like I was ready for a horror film, and it was scary in some ways. While Lore isn’t a horror film per se, it follows a group of German siblings seeking shelter after their parents abandoned them in Nazi Germany.

Chloé Zhao – Eternals (2021)

Lauren Ridloff and Chloe Zhao posing at an Eternals Poster
Lauren Ridloff (left) and Chloé Zhao (right)

Asian American director, Chloé Zhao, is one of the few women indie directors that, was already in the spotlight. Before, she became the first colored woman to win Best Director at the Academy Awards; most of us were familiar with her work such as Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), The Rider (2018), and the Oscar-winning Nomadland (2020). For that reason, when word got out that, Chloé Zhao is directing a Marvel superhero film, Eternals, it became one of the most highly anticipated Marvel films to watch in 2021. Eternals was given some love-and-hate responses, but overall, it is the most diverse Marvel film.

Nia DaCosta – The Marvels (2023)

Left side Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, left side is Nia Dacosta. The Marvels logo
‘The Marvels’ director Nia DaCosta

The Marvels is the upcoming sequel to Captain Marvel. In this sequel, Captain Marvel will fight alongside her prodigy, Ms. MarvelThe Marvels will be directed by Nia DaCosta, and if her name sounds familiar, it’s because DaCosta directed the 2021 reboot of Candyman. And if you’re like me, who didn’t know Candyman has been directed by a black woman, that’s namely because the film’s marketers put the spotlight on Jordan Peele, who is the producer and co-writer of the film. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing Nia DaCosta in the headlines after the release of The Marvels.

You can stream Ms. Marvel on Disney Plus.

Marvel TV Shows

Melissa Rosenberg – Jessica Jones (2015-2019)

Melissa Rosenberg and Krysten Ritter posing in front of Jessica Jones billboard Riiter
Melissa Rosenberg (left) and Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones (right)

Now, to move on to my favorite Marvel series and one of my favorite Marvel superheroes, Jessica Jones. Jessica Jones is unlike, any of the other Marvel shows, for it is the studio’s first woman-led series. In terms of its content, the show can be dark for some viewers. In the first season, we find out our superhero was taken advantage of by a mind-controlling purple-suit British man. But, this is what made “Jessica Jones” shine out from the other Netflix Disney Plus Marvel shows; it’s dark and gritty, just like in a neo-noir. Melissa Rosenberg is the creator of the Jessica Jones series and collaborated on some episodes as a writer. I know the female gaze is a more common term nowadays, but this show is the meaning of the woman’s gaze; Jessica Jones literally gazes at people through her camera.

Jac Schaeffer – WandaVision (2021-2021)

Left side we see Wanda and Vision. Right side is Jac Schaeffer
Jac Schaeffer showrunner and head writer of WandaVision

WandaVision is by far the best Marvel series on Disney Plus. I was so pumped up to witness Wanda’s full powers; a request many Scarlet Witch fans have been seeking since her first appearance in Age of Ultron (2015). I loved how Schaeffer gave us multiple sides of Wanda/Scarlet Witch; we see her as a wife, mother, vengeful girlfriend, villain, and hero. Jac Schaeffer is the creator of the series and served as the head writer. While the show was a massive success in continuing Wanda/ Scarlet Witch’s story after the death of Vision, and the departure of The Avengers; “WandaVision” will not have a second season and I don’t think the series needs to continue any further. Schaeffer did an excellent job of not only creating Scarlet Witch’s story arc, but bringing together other characters from other MCU films, such as Darcy Lewis (from Thor) and Monica Rambeau (from Captain Marvel). All hope is not lost, for “WandaVison” will have a spinoff series, Agatha: House of Darkness with Jac Schaeffer as the head writer and executive producer once more. 

Kate Herron – Loki (2021-Present)

Kate Herron on left side. Right side is Loki poster
Kate Herron director of Loki 

After the events of Endgame (2019), fans were excited to hear that, their favorite anti-villain, Loki, will be getting his own series. The episodes are directed by Kate Herron, who is also the showrunner of the series. While “Loki” is renewed for a second season, Kate Herron will not be returning as the show’s director; Herron revealed she intended to direct the first six episodes, and she gave it all she got. However, we hope to see her name in future Marvel projects.

Jessica Gao and Kat Coiro – She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022)

Jessica Gao on the left side and Kat Coiro on the left
Jessica Gao (left) and Kat Coiro (right)

I’m excited to say, we finally have a live-action She-Hulk series! Comedy writer, Jessica Gao created She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and is the lead writer of the show, and  Kat Coiro will serve as the show’s head director. Since, our leading director and writer of the show are known for their humor; it is expected that, She-Hulk fans will not only witness her fury, but her sense of humor as well. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is now streaming on Disney Plus.